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Radio 5 Live NHS Support Federation opposes the introduction of the competitive market into the Health Sector

Image NHS Support Federation opposes the introduction of the competitive market into the Health Sector

Julia Manning discusses with Health Correspondent, Dominic Hughes on BBC Five Live's Morning Report, the figures recently compiled by the NHS Support Federation.

More than 70% of all contracts for NHS services in England since April 2013 have been awarded to private companies. Health service reforms in England mean any qualified provider can compete to supply clinical services, such as scans and out of hours care. In total more than £5 billion worth of contracts were advertised between April and December 2013.

Reforms to the health service in England greatly expanded the ability of private sector companies to compete for contracts. Of the 57 NHS contracts awarded between April and December 2013, just over 70 percent went to private sector suppliers. The contracts advertised in the same period - worth at least five billion pounds, cover everything from mental health, GP and out of hours services as well as diagnostics such as blood tests, x-rays and scans. The figures were compiled by the NHS Support Federation, a campaign group that opposes the introduction of a competitive market into the health service, arguing it undermines the NHS and puts patients at risk. But private sector suppliers believe the changes are good for patients - and offer the NHS its best chance of meeting the considerable challenges it faces in the future.